We caught up with TEE, a Chinese-Canadian artist, record producer, and songwriter based in Toronto. He has written triple platinum selling singles for artists including Drake ft. Rihanna. He now has made his musical debut and is ready to talk about what he's up to.
1. How did you come to pursue music and how long have you been at it?
"I first started playing piano at the age of 4 and was classically trained for over 10+ years before I got my ARCT Teacher’s Diploma. This kick started my interest in music and my curiosity for how songs were put together. My passion for music grew as I started making beats (as a hobby) in high school and university. This eventually led me to enrolling in the one-year Metalworks Audio Production & Engineering program in 2010. After graduating I got my feet wet through a few internships and started working professionally as a producer and engineer in 2012."
2. Could you walk us through your process of writing music?
"I love creating music with other songwriters. Oftentimes I like to start the writing process by capturing the collective vibe within the room. This is generally inspired by how we’re all feeling that day, things that have been going on in our lives, music we’ve been listening to, etc. Unless it’s a session geared towards something specific I prefer to keep things pretty free-flow in terms of sonic and content direction."
"Musically speaking I generally like to start with chords on the piano or an interesting synth sound. A great melody over chords is always the basis all my inspiration and my goal is to always find that magical moment first. I find that everything else (groove, soundscape, arrangement) tends to fall into place once this is established."
3. What artists have inspired you in your career?
"Growing up in the late 90's in Vancouver I was inspired by Westcoast Hip-Hop and the sounds of urban pop music. As someone who was drawn to the music side of things I’ve always looked up to producers and producer/artists. My main inspirations growing up were Dr. Dre, Pharrell, Timbaland and Scott Storch. However, moving to Toronto and working with pop-urban production group Kuya Productions I became more exposed to pop music and developed a strong appreciation for sound design and songwriting. Currently the producer/artists that inspire me include: Zedd, Avicii, Kaytranada, Mura Masa, etc."
4. Do you have any favorite music gear (guitars, amps, effects pedals, keyboards, etc.) that you love to use? If so, what’s the story on them?
"Growing up as a pianist getting into pop music production I’ve naturally developed an affinity for synthesizer keyboards. I’ve always been fascinated by sound design and it wasn’t until 2012 when I got my first synthesizer - the Virus TI2. Ever since I fell in love with sculpting my own sounds and have grown my keyboard collection, including a Dave Smith OB-6, Korg Minilogue, and one of my personal favourites, Mellotron M4000D Mini."
5. Can you describe the vibe at your live shows? Also, what do you enjoy most about a venue when you do a show?
"I’ve yet to do a live show for my music but have drawn plenty of inspiration from producer/artists like Youngr and Mura Masa. Ideally I’d love to be able to re-create my music live with accompaniment from other live elements - I’m aiming to do my first show mid-late 2020 after I release my first full project."
6. What is one thing that you want the public to know about your music?
"I want to make music that fits the memorable moments in people’s lives - whether that’s a celebration, get’s them through a hard time, makes them dance, etc. I want to create music that people can relate to and have an emotional connection to."
7. Do you have any upcoming projects you would like fans to know about?
"I plan on releasing a few more singles before dropping an EP sometime early-mid 2020"